Metro Transit drasticully cuts service as ridership plumets due to coronavirus

WCCO Radio Newsroom
March 23, 2020 - 5:30 pm
Metro Transit bus

Entercom

Metro Transit is drastically cutting back bus and light rail service by following a sharp drop in ridership during the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting Wednesday, light rail service will drop to 20-minute intervals instead of the current 10, and buses will revert to a schedule more similar to weekends or holidays. The Northstar line will be limited to two inbound trips and two outbound trips every day.

Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla says LRT and bus ridership has dropped 60% and ridership of Northstar has dropped 90%, but the move to cut back service was not made lightly. 

“It's just one of those decisions that you don't make easily.. there were a lot of man-hours, a lot of a lot of just people trying to do what they think is best in the name of public health,” he told News Talk 830 WCCO.

Padilla said the agency had instructed drivers to report back if their routes were full so more buses could be added, better enabling passengers to maintain “social distancing” space between themselves and other riders.

“We're going to do our best to add extra buses onto that route immediately and make sure that that happens,” he said.

For now, Padilla said there had been no talk of laying off conductors or drivers. He said the staff was doing their best to help each other stay upbeat. 

“It’s been quite a sight to see the spirit of togetherness,” he said.

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